With the presidential race in a virtual dead heat since the second debate, Monday's foreign policy-focused debate will be the last face to face encounter between Obama and Romney before election day.
Although the race has been dominated by economic concerns at home, foreign policy will be a chance for the candidates to focus on a subject that has received relatively less attention than in other elections. Lacking any real foreign-policy experience, Romney will be on offense attacking the administration's handling of the recent attack in Benghazi. He will try to show voters that he has his own foreign policy vision and can offer a real alternative to Obama. He will have to give more specifics than the vague attacks of "declinism" and "apologism" that the Romney campaign has relied on so far.
Foreign policy is of course not unrelated to economic concerns, chiefly with regards to China. Romney has vowed to label China a "currency manipulator." Obama may point to his recent World Trade Organization suit against China's trade practices as evidence that he has been tough with China. But in any case, China will be a big focus of tomorrow's debate because it's the foreign policy area that Americans perceive to be linked to economic conditions like persistently high unemployment.
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